Revolutionary Energy Storage: Flywheels
A key energy storage technology for the future, called the flywheel, allows for frequency regulation without wasting extra fuel. Its implementation is a big step toward a smart energy grid.
What's the Latest Development?
A new modification on an old piece of energy technology, called a flywheel, will enable utility companies to store large amounts of energy efficiently until it is needed on the electricity grid. "Take an advanced carbon fiber rim, lift it on magnets in a vacuum, spin it at very high speeds and you can store electrical energy," says Beacon Power, creator of the flywheel. "While the principles of flywheels have been known for a long time and smaller-scale facilities built, the completion of Beacon Power's 20-megawatt plant on the New York grid is a milestone in energy storage."
What's the Big Idea?
Increasing demand for energy, especially in the third world, is putting pressure on our current source of (unsustainable) energy. The search for more efficiency in supplying the public with electricity is inspiring ideas for a smart grid, an electricity network more responsive to demand and supply. A smart grid would tell consumers which hours are the cheapest to consumer electricity and would make the network bidirectional, meaning consumers could supply their own stored electricity back to the grid, perhaps in the form of an electric car battery, for compensation.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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